Norway is planning a mass cull of reindeer to stop the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.
Experts have said an entire herd must be killed off to prevent the disease devastating the country’s reindeer population, the Local reported.
The cull which could involve several thousand animals is scheduled to take place in a mountainous region northwest of Oslo.
Europe’s first case of the disease was discovered in April last year on a young caribou. Then three reindeer were found to have been suffering from the disease.
Around 2,200 animals are in the Nordfjella region where the three diseased reindeer were found.
The illness leads to chronic weight loss before the animal finally dies.
Norway’s Food Safety Authority has already carried out extensive testing to ascertain how far the disease has spread.
Last week the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety published its own risk assessment and recommended that “comprehensive measures” be taken to eradicate the disease.
It has called for the local reindeer population in the affected region to be slaughtered as a precaution.
“If the authorities want to eradicate the disease then we have a golden opportunity now, since it appears that it is limited to the northern parts of Nordfjella,” a committee member said.
“If the goal is to eradicate then the best solution is to shoot the entire herd.”